By DocJill <DrMcCoY97@aol.com>
Submitted: May 2004
Summary: In this silly response to Hazel's cameo challenge, many FoLCs we know make appearances throughout as Lois and Clark try to get to the bottom of a strange, secretive group calling themselves the FoLCs.
This bit of silliness was written in response to Hazel's cameo challenge on the Fanfic Message Boards (http://www.lcficmbs.com/), the purpose of which was to write a short story which included cameo appearances by as many of FoLCdom's personalities as could be crammed in. The official count (for those who are trying to count) is 54 cameos (not including the ficus — although it should have a special category all its own <g> ). And I'll give out the list if you want to see it. Apologies to the people that I may have inadvertently left out — this WAS written at 4am, so I plead lack of sleep and lack of sanity.
I want to thank Meredith and Marnie for doing a super-fast, super-great BR for me so that I could get this posted. And thanks so very much to Erin for being a great GE.
The characters are not mine…they and any other recognizable elements belong to DC comics, Warner Brothers, ABC…and whoever else would like to claim them. The FoLCs included in this story belong to themselves — any damage that I did to their character…my apologies. <g> The idea for this story was mine, so I take any and all blame.
Any and all comments are welcome and appreciated.
Lois and Clark trudged wearily into the newsroom of the Daily Planet. It had been a long week, and it seemed like they'd spent most of it at the Metropolis Police Station. Most of the regular staff had already gone home and all that was left was a skeleton crew.
The only light was coming from the night editor's office, the light casting deep shadows throughout the rest of the newsroom. They could see 'Chief' Pam leaning over her desk with Meredith sitting next to her, probably checking to make sure Pam didn't miss any grammar mistakes.
There had been multiple arrests in the past few days, large numbers of people, all belonging to a strange, secretive group calling themselves the FoLCs — with several smaller internal groups, including the Clark Kent Stalkers Society. The stalking issue was bad enough, but it had been discovered that this group was also planning on blowing up the ABC Television Studios and the executive offices of Warner Brothers — something about the executives canceling their favorite show.
Clark sighed as he dropped heavily into his chair. "Wow, I think that was the craziest group they've arrested yet."
Lois smiled sympathetically at her husband as she pulled her own chair over to his desk. "Aw, I don't know, they were kinda cute — if misguided. Especially that Yvonne. She really seemed smitten with you."
"Misguided?" Clark asked incredulously. "You don't think I'm worthy of stalking?" He pulled the list of names of the group of arrestees across the desk so he could read the names. "Sarah, Erin, Laurie, and Rivka sure seemed to think I was good enough to stalk!"
Lois laughed at her husband's indignant response. "Honey, you are definitely worthy of stalking. If we weren't married, I'd definitely be at the top of the list of stalkers. It's just that this last group seemed a little more…overzealous about it. Especially that Elena. She was threatening to toss all the police officers off the top of the LexCorp building just so she could hear them 'Ahh…THUD!'"
"I'm just glad that they're transferring all of them to the psychiatric ward at Metropolis General instead of keeping them in jail overnight. Some of the doctors over there seem really good — remember, the ones that we interviewed for the health insurance story last month, Alicia and Marnie?"
"Oh, yeah, and those nurses Maria and Krissie were really nice, too. Plus they've got some great drugs over there. That should help." She winked at him and picked up the list, glancing at a few of the names. "I was really starting to get worried there for a little bit, though. The leader of this group was really putting up a fight, and she kept screaming that you were Superman." Lois ran her finger down the list of names. "Here she is — Missy!"
Clark nodded. "But thankfully no one was taking her seriously. After that press conference with Tempus last year, no one seems inclined to believe any contentions that I'm Superman. I guess seeing both me and the other Clark was enough to convince them."
She mumbled an agreement, but she was still going through the list of names of Clark's stalkers. "Oh, these two — remember these two, Clark? Kaethel and Tracey? They looked a lot alike, didn't they? I wonder if they're related, maybe twins."
"What, the ones with orange hair? Yeah, they really did look a lot alike. But one of them had a little bit of an accent."
"Hmm… the group that they arrested Tuesday didn't seem this big."
"No, I don't think it was," Clark agreed, "but I think they were louder. Especially that Annie."
"Well, of course she was loud, Clark. She was drunk! She was carrying around an empty bottle of Vodka when they found her, and mumbling something about blue cups…"
"Hmmph. It's not like your own group of stalkers are model citizens either, need I remind you?"
Lois blushed. "I know, but Tank was kinda sweet, and he's really been helpful since they arrested him. He willingly confessed to the police and gave them enough information about this group to start catching the rest of them."
The leader of Lois' own stalking faction had been arrested the previous week. It seemed that he had finally snapped after years of being stuck out at the edge of civilization in Minnesota. The police had found him running up and down Loriel Avenue downtown, with a bass guitar strapped across his back, wielding a large pair of scissors and yelling that he 'had to cut Lois Lane's hair'.
After his arrest, Lois and Clark had gone down to the station to interview him, but he had sobbed and banged his fist on the table, refusing to say anything other than "It's too long!" So finally Lois had agreed to let one of the police officers cut her hair so that he would stop crying and allow them to interview him. Officer Irene had done a pretty good job, too. It wasn't too short, but it had been enough to appease Tank.
He had subsequently given up all of the information that he had on the FoLCs, leading to more recent arrests of the large groups of Clark's stalkers and a smaller group of people stalking Lois, lead by Jose, Ray and Jiten, since Tank's arrest.
Clark leaned back in his chair and sighed. "Well, I doubt anything is going to happen tonight. Let's just get this piece written up and turn it in to Pam. She can have Anna run it downstairs once she and Mere are done editing it; it might even make the morning edition. Then we can head out."
"Good idea, and maybe we can stop by Hazel's All-Night Caf‚ on the way home? Maybe Chiara is working — she makes the best milkshakes! And I could really do with a chocolate milkshake."
Clark grinned at her. "You really are a hopeless chocaholic, aren't you? It's after midnight and it's still the only thing you can think about."
"Well, not the only thing…" she said lightly, leaning forward and brushing her lips softly against her husband's. "But it has the additional benefit of caffeine, and I can never turn that down."
Clark smiled and took his own opportunity to lightly kiss his wife before turning and opening a file on his computer. "If anything else breaks tonight with the FoLC investigation, I left our pager numbers with Henderson's partner, Kathy, so she'll call us. And tomorrow we'll head over to Star Labs and talk to Dr. Klein, see if he's made any more progress breaking the code on those disks that we got from Tank."
Lois nodded, and then they got to work on their story.
The next morning was bright and sunshine-y. Lois and Clark walked quickly down the front steps of their brownstone, eager to get Star Labs to see Dr. Klein. The ride to the labs was short. There had been a major collision at the corner of Tineke Rd. and RetroRose Blvd., and all the traffic seemed to be backed up there, leaving the other main roads heading towards the Labs completely free of cars.
As Lois pulled the Jeep up to the outer gates of the Star Labs property, she braked sharply, and she and Clark stared curiously out the windows. A team of workers was constructing a barbwire fence on the outside of the chainlink fence that already surrounded the research facility's property.
Clark rolled down his window and called out to the nearest worker, "Excuse me?" The girl turned and walked over to his window. "Hi- " Clark started hesitantly.
"Bethy," the girl offered, "my name's Bethy."
"Okay, hi, Bethy. Can you tell me what's going on here?"
She sighed. "They just hired a new chief of security. Saskia. And she's a real 'thorough' head of the department — at least that's what they call it. I call it nuts. She's decided that we need a barbwire fence around the whole outside, because obviously the regular fence isn't enough." Bethy rolled her eyes.
"That's very…interesting," Clark said. "Can we still get in? We're here to see Dr. Klein."
"Sure, go ahead. No one's actually watching the gate anyway. We're all working on the fence." She grinned and headed back to her barbwire.
Clark looked back at Lois; she shrugged and steered the Jeep in through the wide open front gate.
After they'd parked the Jeep, they headed for the front entrance to the building, which was still, fortunately, secured and guarded. But also, fortunately, they knew the security guard. He'd been there on many other occasions when they'd come to visit Dr. Klein. They waved at James, and he buzzed them in.
When they entered Dr. Klein's lab, they saw the scientist bent over one of his rather cluttered work benches, frantically mixing chemicals together while trying to give instructions to his assistant. When he finally stopped talking, the girl snapped her lab notebook shut and headed back out of the lab. She smiled and greeted Lois and Clark as she exited. They greeted her in turn. They spent enough time here talking to Dr. Klein that they knew most of the people that worked with him, and Kaylle spent almost as much time here as the doctor himself.
"Dr. Klein?" Lois called, trying to get his attention. The scientist's head jerked up and he blinked rapidly behind his lab glasses.
"Lois! Clark! I didn't see you there. Come in," he called back, gesturing with his right hand, not realizing he was still holding a pipette, and spraying acid all over his bench, the floor and his surrounding paperwork. "Oops!" He jumped back hastily to avoid the acid spill, but still taking the pipette with him and leaving a trail of burns on the lab's floor as he moved. Finally realizing that he was still dripping acid all over the place, he tossed the pipette into a hazardous waist-bin. Lois and Clark watched warily as a cloud of smoke began rising from the bench and the papers that the acid had landed on.
"Anni?" Dr. Klein called, and another of his lab aides poked her head out of his office. "I seemed to have spilled some chromic acid," he said, rather flustered. "Would you clean it up for me while I talk to Lois and Clark here?"
Anni sighed and nodded, ducking back into the office before re-emerging wearing a pair of large leather gloves.
Lois' eyes widened as she started pouring more liquid on the bench and mess of papers before stuffing them into another waste bin. She looked at Dr. Klein questioningly, but he waved his hand at her, turning to watch Anni clean up the mess. "Don't worry about it; just a little acid. Okay, it's pretty strong acid, but it'll be fine. It just smokes a bit when it hits paper. Eats through it pretty darn quickly…clothes too, for that matter, and it's probably a really good idea not to get him it on your skin. Which is why Anni is wearing those gloves." He stopped for a second, looking thoughtful. "Maybe I should start wearing gloves, too." But then he shook his head and refocused his attention on the two reporters. "So, what can I do for you today?"
"We came to see how you were making out on decrypting those disks that we brought you, Dr. Klein," Clark reminded him.
Dr. Klein scratched his head for a second, and then his face lit up with recognition. "Oh, yes! Those disks, from the weird fanatical group — the FroCKs or something like that."
"FoLCs," Lois clarified. "We haven't figured out what it stands for yet. We were hoping that was one of the things that would be on the disks. Have you made any progress with them yet?"
Dr. Klein shook his head. "I wasn't making much progress with them, so I called in some favors from two ladies on our tech support staff, Karen and Annette — she's really wonderful, can figure out just about anything with computers. They've been working on it for me. Let me call them and get them to come down here and see what they've found out."
While Dr. Klein went into his office to make the call, Lois and Clark wandered around the lab. Lois was particularly intrigued when she spotted a cage on one of the benches at the back of the lab. She'd never seen any animals in Dr. Klein's lab before. She headed over to take a look and found a tiny, little lab rat running around in circles in the center of the cage. "Clark, come look at this. Isn't he cute?"
Before Clark could respond, Dr. Klein returned, walking up behind them. "She," he said. They looked at him questioningly. "It's a 'she' rat. She was part of a research project I was working on last year. Intelligence enhancing drugs. I just couldn't bring myself to dissect her at the end of the study. She was the smartest one of the bunch, and the cutest too. I just couldn't do it. So she lives here in the main lab with me now." He smiled fondly at the little animal.
Lois tapped at the cage, and then noticed the rat's water bottle. "Uh, Dr. Klein, you might want to change her water. It's looking pretty brown."
Dr. Klein laughed. "That's because it's not water. It's cider."
Clark stared at him and his eyebrows rose incredulously. "You give your rat cider?"
Dr. Klein nodded. "Yeah, it's the darndest thing. She actually seems to function better and more intelligently with the cider than with water, so I let her have the cider." He shrugged and headed back towards the front of the lab.
Clark glanced back at Lois, who also shrugged briefly before following Dr. Klein.
A few minutes later there was a knock on the lab's door and three ladies entered. "Hi Bernie!" Annette called, smiling brightly at Dr. Klein. "Karen and I brought Trenna in on this little project too. We figured she could help."
"That's fine. Did you have any success with decoding the disks?" Dr. Klein asked.
"Yup!" Annette answered excitedly. "We did it! This new Xanabee decoding software is great. We finished breaking the encryption early this morning. Although I gotta admit, whoever this Artemis is that did the encryption for them in the first place — she's good! But we outsmarted her, didn't we girls?" She smiled again.
"That's great, Annette!" Dr. Klein praised her. Then he turned to introduce Lois and Clark. "These are the reporters that I was telling you about, the ones that brought me the disk."
Annette grinned at them. "Oh, so you're Lois and Clark. You've got a lot of crazy people out there that think you're both pretty great. And most of them are women that think Clark here is the best thing since sliced bread." She winked at Clark, taking the opportunity to enjoy the view. Clark squirmed uneasily under her gaze.
"So, you said you were able to break the code on the disks," he said, frantically trying to change the subject. "What was on them? Anything that will help us catch the rest of these fanatics or figure out what their ultimate goal is?"
"Yup," Annette confirmed. "Let's pull up the files on the computer in Bernie's office and you'll have all the information that you need."
As they all turned to head into Dr. Klein's office, they heard someone — clearly agitated — yelling out in the hall, "Stop! Quit! Don't!!!" The yelling was followed by a loud explosion. A second later a young man in a white lab coat came running down the hall, stopping in the doorway to Dr. Klein's lab.
"Paul? What happened?" Dr. Klein asked.
"He did it again! Dr. Tarkas did it again! And this time he blew up Carol!" Paul answered. He shook his head before running back out of the lab. "I've gotta call the fire department," he called back as he ran.
"Who did what?" Lois asked as Dr. Klein sighed and shook his head.
"Dr. Tarkas, one of our researchers. He's become notorious for blowing up his lab… and the occasional lab assistant." Dr. Klein lowered his voice to conspiratorial level. "We call him the Mad Professor around here." He turned to address Annette, Karen and Trenna. "Why don't you ladies show Lois and Clark what you've found. I'd better go help put out the fire."
"C'mon," Annette said, grabbing Clark's arm and pulling him into the office after her.
It only took a few minutes for Annette to pull up all the information from the FoLCs computer disks. And when they were done running through all of the material things were a bit clearer, but there was still one person that they needed to talk to.
Lois and Clark exited the elevator on the top floor of the building that housed the executive offices for the ABC Television Studies, where they had moved their production to Metropolis from New York several years ago.
As they walked up to the reception desk, the secretary looked up from her paperwork. "May I help you?" she asked pleasantly.
Clark read the nameplate on her desk. "Yes, Merry, we'd like to see the CEO. We're from the Daily Planet and it seems her name has come up in relation to a story we're working on."
Merry eyed the reporters warily. "Ms. Richards is a very busy woman. I'll have to see if she has an opening in her schedule before I let you in to see her." She turned away from Lois and Clark and spoke quietly into a monitor behind her desk. A few seconds later she looked up and motioned for Lois and Clark to enter the offices behind her. "She's waiting."
As they entered the sprawling executive offices, the woman seated behind the desk looked up briefly. Then she turned to the personal assistant standing next to her desk. "That'll be all for now, Tricia. I'll call for you later when I'm ready for my next meeting." The assistant accepted the papers that Ms. Richards handed to her and then exited the office, closing the door quietly behind her.
The CEO turned her attention fully to the two reporters standing in front of her desk. "Well, well, Lois Lane and Clark Kent. What a pleasure it is to finally meet you." She got up and moved around to the front of her desk. "I bet I know why you're here. I've been reading enough in the papers about the recent arrests of all the FoLCs. I always knew Tank was the weak link." She gestured for them to sit in the chairs facing her desk, and as they lowered themselves into the seats, she continued, "They found out about me, didn't they?"
"It would appear so, Ms. Richards," Clark confirmed.
"Please, call me Wendy."
"Alright, Wendy. They found out that you were the true mastermind behind ABC and Warner Brothers. That you were the one that was responsible for canceling the show that they're obsessed with. And they figured out that you did it all so that they would have to rely on reading your fanfic to get their fix of LnC." Clark paused. "Although I haven't figured out why they're so intrigued by our lives." He shrugged.
Wendy sighed. "It doesn't really matter now, since most of them have been arrested. I'll have to find a new group to write fic for now. It's really a shame too. They were a nice group. Very good about feedback." She shook her head sadly. "Maybe I should consider writing some of that Star Trek fanfic. It seems to have a very large following." She thought about it for a moment, then shook her head. "Nah!"
Lois jumped in. "Well, Wendy, there was one thing that they didn't find out about you. But Clark and I did a little digging of our own, and we found out who you really are."
A small spark of fear flickered in Wendy's eyes at Lois' comment. "Is that so, Lois? And who am I, really?"
"You're real last name isn't Richards…it's Luthor. You're Lex Luthor's sister!"
Wendy's eyes hardened and her expression became slightly malicious. "And so what if I am? That's not a crime."
Lois and Clark stood up and turned to leave. "No, it's not a crime. And technically nothing that you've done thus far could be prosecuted as a crime either. But we will be watching you." And they walked out her office.
As they exited, Lois' pager went off. "Can I use your phone for a minute?" she asked Merry.
Once she had placed the call and spoken to Jimmy, she turned back to Clark. "Look's like we have to go back down to the police station. They arrested another of the FoLCs. This one, Jill, was caught running around the swamp at the Sewage Reclamation Plant waving around a Godzilla doll and screaming, 'I know it's here! I know the spaceship is here!' Sound familiar?"
Clark grinned. "Sorry, but you know you deserved that."
Lois laughed ruefully and rested her hand lightly on her husband's chest. "Yeah, yeah, I was a horrible, overly-competitive, insane person. But you loved me anyway."
Clark smiled at her and pressed his lips lightly against her forehead. "Yes, I did. And I still do."
As they walked out of the building into the fresh air, Lois sighed. "I don't know, Clark. This just doesn't bode well. Lex Luthor's sister! She has to be up to no good." She grinned impishly. "Maybe we should have let the FoLCs blow up the building."
Clark laughed, but then turned serious again. "I know, Lois, but all we can do right now is watch and wait for her to slip up." He lifted his face up to the sun-filled sky and watched as a pelican swooped lazily down from the roof of one of the nearby buildings. As he watched, the bird exploded in a ball of flame and fell to the pavement several yards away from where they were standing. Lois shrieked and jumped backwards, but within seconds the fire had died down and all that was left was a pile of ashes. Then suddenly the ashes began to shift and another bird, this one with shining, bright feathers emerged from the ashes and took to the sky. It was a phoenix, rising into the air.
Clark turned to Lois and swallowed hard. "Didn't you tell me that Lex said something about the Phoenix myth when he returned from the dead?" Lois nodded mutely. "No, this definitely does not bode well."